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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, August 5, 2006

Local film entity gets Asian help

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii Film Partners, the locally based film company founded by Rann and Gina Watumull, has entered into a $20 million agreement with the Chinese city of Changzhou and Korean animation giant GIMC.

The new partnership, Asian Animation Run, will produce four to five major animation projects, Rann Watumull said yesterday.

Changzhou and GIMC have already committed $10 million to the partnership. Hawaii Film Partners, which co-produces the hit teen adventure show "Flight 29 Down," is raising the other half.

"You have to band together to work outside of the network system," Watumull said.

Watumull said he expects the new venture to create new opportunities for local actors and animation companies.

"It's hard to build a local industry without local ownership," Watumull said. "(Hawai'i Film Partners is) trying to change the paradigm by ownership, distribution and creative involvement."

"Flight 29 Down," which kicks off its second season on Sept. 10, employs a mostly local crew and features Hawai'i actress Tani Lynn Fujimoto. It is the top-rated show on the Discovery Kids block aired on NBC, according to the Discovery Kids network.

Reach Michael Tsai at mtsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.